Douglas County High Point Trip Report
Mount Thielsen (9,182 ft)
Date: July 5, 2003
Author: Dean Molen
We drove up to a rest area near Beaver Marsh on highway 97 and near midnight and
slept in our vehicles, Bob in his luxurious 4Runner and myself in the backseat
of my Honda Accord (yeah, you can sleep anywhere if you're tired enough).
We were up fixing breakfast on my backpacker stove and soon were on the way to
Mount Thielsen, which towered above the rest area to the east. We stopped enroute
several times to take pictures of it in the early morning light as we headed up
OR 138 towards Crater Lake and Diamond Lake. The trailhead is just off the
highway and is a Northwest Forest Pass fee area (it has a nice potty of course,
Northwest Forest Pass dollars at work).
The sign says 4 miles to the PCT and we covered those relatively monotonous but
well graded miles in about 90 minutes. Once you connect with the PCT, you begin
following the ridge up the mountain. A trail of sorts takes you up to 8000 feet
and then it gets a little sketchy at times, mainly class 2 with occasional class
3 scramble spots, none of it difficult. Finally we came to the base of a
couloir on the western side and followed it up to where you could get to the
final 80 feet of Mount Thielsen.
Without much hesitation, Bob figured out a route up the class 4 rock and scrambled
nicely to the top. I, on the other hand, was a little more reluctant and didn't want
to follow Bob's route up. I actually wasn't worried about the getting up,
I was more worried about the getting down.
Then along came Jeff and his dad. Jeff took a different route up and that was
the route I went up, with Jeff acting as a guide on his second climb back to the summit
(just for me, thanks Jeff), pointing a few hand and footholds out to me
both on the way up and the way down.
Hooray, stick a fork in it, I wouldn't have to come back to do this one.
The summit area itself is relatively comfortable and as mentioned in a previous report,
there are two pipe-like containers on the summit. One is locked and the
other was open on one end with lots of scraps of paper and a red pen which I
used to put my name on one of those paper scraps. Not a real long term solution
but always fun to sign a register. I covered the summit (very easy to do) from
side to side and after I was satisfied that both Douglas and Klamath county
lines were covered, I shook hands with Jeff (neat young guy from Ohio) and with
him pointing out a couple of key foot holds near the bottom of the route that we
down-climbed, I was soon getting high fives from my fearless friend, Bob Bolton.
Every county I've had the pleasure to do with Bob has been nothing but fun;
he loves this stuff as much as I do. One sad note is I didn't take my camera or
GPS to the summit, both sat snugly in my daypack, lost in the excitement of the moment.
That little 80 feet was probably the most exposure I've had to this
point in the mountains recently. In retrospect, I don't think I'd have any
problem doing it again although I never want to.
Bob and I spent over an hour on our lofty perch and Bob scooted over to the
extension of the ridge on the east side and I took a few pictures of him sitting
out on its airy heights. Great views in all directions, Shasta to the south and
the Sisters to the north. We could see the caldera of Crater Lake although I
couldn't see the water. "Unbelievable" high point adventure. Then we made our
way carefully down the top 1000 feet until we were pretty much back on a trail
of sorts (lots of scree).
Tons of Kodak moments on this mountain and I'll soon
have quite a few pictures of it posted in my Oregon Fototime album (link below).
Thanks to Bob for his prodding of me on the final 80 feet,
he really was the reason I made the summit.
Four hours up and three hours back to the car. Take mosquito repellent for the
lower trail area and plenty of water. A five-star county HP, in my opinion.